Welcome to your special anniversary edition of the art reviews. Wherein we take a look at fine art from the past and I tell you what little I know until: A) We find a new Art Reviewer or B) The Editor in Chief let's me go. But, seriously folks, while it started for me as a need to fill a spot, I sincerely look forward to finding and writing for your reading pleasure! Sometimes, I attempt to test myself and pick a subject that I may not know a lot about, and do as much research as I can to feel comfortable enough to review to contents of the subject at hand.
But, truth be told, this month will not be one of those times. While I set this up back in issue #74 with Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night, which allowed me introduce Edvard Munch last month with his famed masterpiece titled, "The Scream." Not following? Okay, it was strategically placed so I could review one of my all time favorite paintings, not only from Munch, but in general.
This month we will revisit the maddening mind of Edvard Munch, who despite his mental illness, was able to harness his pain and transcend it into art. Case in point is what is called simply, "Vampire," but not by Munch who named it, "Love and Pain."
From 1893 to 1895 Munch created a total of six versions of what we know in this article as "Vampire." Currently half of them reside in Oslo (where the Munch Museum is located) and another version is owned by a private collector. Which leaves one in a museum in Sweden and the last, well
As of this moment, it is missing.
Another interesting fact is how most artist's loath what would eventually become a masterpiece, you can add this painting in that category. Munch expressed his dislike for "Vampire." I also find interesting is how the artwork's name changed. This is fun! Here we go...I mentioned earlier, Munch called it "Love and Pain," and how we understand his status in Mental Health, that fit the artist moreover than "Vampire." It was when an art critic who proclaimed that it was a man who was being bitten and the red hair was a symbol for blood traveling down from his neck (it was kinda taboo then to have actual blood displayed), but Munch said it had absolutely nothing to do with vampires. But, it was a craze at the time as Bram Stoker had published his literary masterpiece, "Dracula" in May of 1897. The creator of the art said it was nothing more than a woman kissing a man on the neck. While in possession of the Nazis, it was decided that it was morally a dark myth and degenerate in nature.
Despite what the title of the painting was, it has become one of Edvard Munch's desired and reproduced images, which is leased by a private collector, who purchased it in a personal collection some seventy years ago, I want to say after it was returned after the Nazi took it back in 1940 and Munch was seventysix at the time and would not live long enough to see them returned.
Fun Fact: Even though it was Nazis who took the painting, Edvard Munch's art was actually banned in Germany by that very party. While there were some that did not make it through the war, many did in fact remain intact, and immediately became sought after.
I think that my interpretation is that the man is Munch himself, and that he is grieving the death of his favorite sister, Sophia who died from Tuberculosis in 1877this makes more sense as you look at the whole story, and why he created so many versions of the same picture. From what I have learned, his sibling was also red headed, and the darkness of the painting implies something of a macabre nature. While this idea was introduced to me in college, I have come to adopt it as my own ideology, but Edvard Munch never explained the meaning behind the creation.
So I close with a question, what do you see? A man grieving, lovers embrace, a ghost of a dead sister or a blood lusting woman of the night, a creature feeding, the need for blood, as she is a Vampire!